Purchasing your first firearm can be an intimidating process. Especially because talking about guns, or expressing a desire to purchase one, can sometimes be considered taboo. Mix that in with the many different locals, state, and federal laws and it can be difficult to learn how to actually purchase one for yourself.
If you’re interested in joining the thirty percent of Americans who personally own guns, or just want to find out more information, you’ve come to the right place. We’ve done the research and want to help you make your first process easy and fun. We believe that a smart gun purchaser means a smart gun owner.
Continue reading, and we’ll walk you through everything you need to know. From how to buy a gun to which type of gun to buy.
The first thing you need to ask yourself is “why do I want to purchase a gun?” Is it more for hunting and sport? Or is it for protection and security?
Knowing the answers to these questions will help you make a smarter decision on which gun you’ll eventually end up purchasing. Next, research the local gun stores in your area. You want to find shops that are known for quality customer service, with employees who are friendly and knowledgable.
Ask friends and family members for recommendations. You should also definitely make sure to read online reviews and see what other customers have to say. Pay attention to what people say when it comes to how employees treat their customers.
Going to the Gun Store
Now that you have a list of potential gun shops, it’s time to go shopping. When you go into the store, let an employee know that you’re a first-time gun owner. Use this first trip to the store for both research and relationship building.
As you become more familiar with guns and gun culture, you’ll probably end up spending more and more time at your favorite gun stores. It’s good to start building relationships with employees now as this will make future trips to the store more comfortable and pleasant.
Never allow yourself to feel pressured into buying a gun when you’re not ready. This first trip to the store can simply be about learning more. Don’t allow anyone to make you feel as if you have to buy something.
As you start talking to the sales rep, they should be asking you questions to learn more about your firearm goals. At this point, the employee should begin to show you multiple types of guns so you can find one that feels like a good fit for you.
He will also ask you what you do and don’t like about each of the guns so that he can better refine your options.
Completing the Paperwork
Although it may seem daunting, the paperwork involved is generally simple and easy to navigate. When you’re finally ready to make a purchase, you’ll be asked to fill out an ATF Form 4473. This is a federal form created by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives.
This form is meant to document the purchase and make sure that you’re legally allowed to purchase a gun. The form asks you for your name, address, social security number, and so on. Lying on this form is a felony and you can end up serving time in prison for several years.
You must answer all of the form’s questions honestly. And if you’re unsure about anything or want clarification, ask your sales rep for help.
Making the Purchase
Now that the paperwork is complete, it’s time to pay for your firearm. Depending on the state you live in, you might have to endure a waiting period before actually receiving your firearm.
States like Alabama, Michigan, Nevada, and others have no waiting period. In a state like Florida, however, a gun buyer will have to wait at least 3 business days after making the purchase to actually obtain their firearm. The purpose of awaiting, or cool down, the period is to give the individual time to think, in case they want the gun for a nefarious reason.
When you purchase a firearm in the United States, you’re required to show a government-issued ID card. You might also have to show a combination of government-issued IDs to satisfy certain requirements.
Your ID must include your current residential address, your date of birth, your full name, and the ID must be valid and not expired. If you’re a permanent resident alien, you must also provide your green card.
FBI Background Check
Once your waiting period is complete, you can go back to the gun shop and pick up your gun. Once there, you’ll be asked to resign the ATF Form 4473 to make sure that all of that information is still accurate.
After signing, your sales rep will complete an FBI Background Check. This is to ensure that you’re legally allowed to own a gun in the United States.
Some of the things that would prohibit you from owning a gun include:
- Any misdemeanor crime of domestic violence
- Any convictions for a felony
- If you’re under indictment for a felony
- If you’re a fugitive from justice
- If you’re an unlawful user of drugs, including medical marijuana
- If you’ve been adjudicated mentally defective
- If you’ve been committed to a mental institution
- If you’ve received a dishonorable discharge from the US military
- If you’re subject to a restraining order
This is only a partial list but hopefully, you have a fuller idea of who can and can’t purchase a gun.
The background check should only take a few minutes to complete. Once you’re approved, you’ll be free to take the firearm home with you.
Transporting a Firearm
Make sure that you are up to date with your state and local laws when it comes to how to transport a firearm. In many states, you can transport your gun anywhere inside your vehicle as long as it’s in a case.
When transporting legally allowed guns across state lines, your gun must be in a locked compartment and out of reach from the driver. Typically, this means storing it in the trunk. The gun must also not be loaded.
Because laws vary by state when it comes to transporting guns within a state, it’s always a good idea to ask your sales rep on how to transport the firearm before you leave the store.
How to Buy a Gun Online
Believe it or not, it’s actually legal to buy a gun online. With that said, it’s not as easy and as simple as making a purchase on Amazon.
You can legally purchase a gun online from a Federal Firearm Licensee (FFL). Unless you, the buyer, are also an FFL, you can pay for a gun online but you can’t actually have it delivered to you. After making your online purchase, you’ll have to direct the seller to ship the firearm to your local FFL, typically a gun shop, where you can pick it up.
You’ll then have to appear at your local FFL in person and fill out the required paperwork. In some states, you’ll have to fill out extra paperwork. And you’ll also have to satisfy the background check requirements.
The local FFL that you pick will have to agree to accept the shipment. Many FFLs don’t like to do this because they see it as a competition. The physical FFL may very well charge you a fee for the inconvenience. While more involved, if you yourself register as an FFL, you can then have guns shipped directly to your residence, or you can get parts like an 80 ar 10 lower shipped to you and then build your gun yourself.
To circumvent this issue, you yourself can register as an FFL and then have guns shipped directly to your residence.
Choosing the Right First Gun
Most gun buyers own firearms for self-defense purposes. A first-time gun buyer might think that a revolver is a great option because it’s one of the most popular self-defense weapons in films and TV.
However, most often you’re going to fire a revolver in the double-action mode and that’s going to require 12 pounds of pull on the trigger. Even for very strong people, pulling 12 pounds will sometimes pull you off target. It’s small features like these that are important to consider when buying your first gun.
Your first gun should be something that you can shoot comfortably and often. Examples like the one above underscore the importance of giving a lot of thought to the gun you end up purchase. And be sure to buy guns and gun parts from reputable dealers, like Faxon Firearms, at affordable prices.
The Importance of Knowing How to Purchase a Gun
By being informed and by knowing how to buy a gun the right way, you’ll have a much smoother and enjoyable experience throughout. Make sure that you’re thoroughly aware of your state and local laws as well as federal laws.
Remember that owning a firearm is a big responsibility and slip-ups can result in serious consequences. Making a mistake can result in legal issues, injury, or worse.
Are you interested in reading other helpful articles about men’s lifestyle concerns? Check out our blog for more!